She wanted to get closer for a selfie — but the big cat wasn’t having it.
Over the weekend, a woman climbed over a barrier to the jaguar enclosure at Wildlife World Zoo in Arizona for a picture when one of the big cats reached out and attacked her arm.
Witnesses told officials that the woman had crossed over the barrier in order to take the photo, and that the animal never left her enclosure but was able to grab the woman when she came close. Unfortunately encounters like this aren’t uncommon and can often lead to the animal being killed, like in the shooting death of Harambe the gorilla and Margaash the leopard.
Fortunately, the zoo in this case confirmed that the jaguar was safe and would not be euthanized for wounding the woman.
“We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar,” the zoo said on Twitter. “She’s a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe.”
The woman was taken to the hospital for non life-threatening injuries, and later returned to the zoo to apologize, describing her actions as “foolish,” the zoo’s owner told NBC News.
While animal advocates are glad this animal will be protected, they hope it teaches everyone a lesson on just how dangerous these big cats really are — and how dangerous it can be for cub-petting facilities and similar attractions to treat big cats like harmless pets.
“When various types of exhibitors promote all sorts of close encounters with wildlife, people get the mistaken idea that wild animals are approachable,” Kitty Block, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told The Dodo in a statement. “Throw in a healthy dose of poor judgement, and incidents like this are bound to happen. We urge the zoological community exhibitors to set a higher standard to protect people and to respect wildlife from a safe distance by doing away with public contact opportunities with wildlife of all species.”